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Eye Candy: Spring Wildflowers

California poppies in foreground, then a sweep of Goldfields on Bernal Heights, taken two days ago.

It’s that time of the year, but this is a particularly spectacular year. Heavy rains until just a couple of weeks ago, and even a sprinkle or two since then. The hills around the city and the surrounding area are brilliantly green, filled with wildflowers to delight even the most jaded observer… and let me tell you, I am NOT jaded about wildflowers! Here’s a bunch taken from Twin Peaks on Feb. 28, Bernal Heights during several different walks in the past two weeks of March, and a spectacular walk we took with a bunch of friends on the west slopes of Mt. Tamalpais in Marin last weekend. It had been at least 20 years since I hiked Steep Ravine trail and it was just as beautiful as ever. But more remarkable was seeing all the blooming Mt. Tam wild orchids all over the place! What a treat!

Mt. Tamalpais wild orchid.

Mt. Tam wild orchid.

The wild orchids are quite small and easy to miss if you're not looking.

The wild orchids are very small and easy to miss if you're not looking.

We’re crazy lucky in the Bay Area to have so much open space. I just read in the latest issue of Bay Nature that only 16% of the land in the Bay Area is urbanized. Remarkable! Those kinds of facts, confirmed by paying attention as one walks around here, is part of what drove my curiosity to start doing oral histories with local ecological activists. That in turn led to our series, Ecology Emerges, which is having its 2nd of 4 public discussion/presentations this coming Wednesday March 31, at 6 pm at San Francisco’s Main Library.

I'm no botanist, so if anyone wants to send me names of all these flowers, I'd be grateful. This is on Bernal Heights.

Brilliant blue-purple ceonothus, a local native, are in bloom all over the hills... this on the south side of Bernal near the new Gates stairs. Bayview Hill and Candlestick park in distance.

Goldfields closeup on Bernal Heights.

The greens are breathtaking as spring comes into its own... everything will turn brown in a month or so. This is a northerly view due east of Stinson Beach on the slopes of Mt. Tam.

These were everywhere in the shaded forests of Steep Ravine on Mt. Tam.

On a bright sunny grassy slope of Mt. Tam.

Douglas Irises, one of my favorite local native plants, always popping up this time of year, these on a Mt. Tam pasture, but lots on Twin Peaks too.

This is on Twin Peaks, a fantastic wildflower zone that awaits the climber, the bicyclist, or yes, even the driver who is willing to leave the parking lot and actually climb one of the peaks.

Twin Peaks.

Twin Peaks.

Twin Peaks.

Purple lupine on Twin Peaks.

Twin Peaks, approaching dusk at end of February.

Creek on slopes of Mt. Tam.

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